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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Biology: Air Plant


This is a Tillandsia fasciculata or Giant Airplant






Air Plants are a genus of plant from the family Bromeliaceae or Bromeliad family. They can be found in deserts, forests and mountains. They live in Central America, South America, Mexico, and the southern United States. Air Plants with thinner leaves live in more rainy areas; Air Plants with thick leaves live in more dry areas or areas subject to drought. The genus Tillandsia was named by Carolus Linnaeus after the Finnish physician and botanist Dr. Elias Tillandz. Air Plants grow without soil and get nutrients and water through their leaves; their roots are used to anchor them to things like trees.

INDOOR CARE

It is important to maintain Tillandsias properly--the key factors are Light, Water, and Air Circulation.

LIGHT
Lighting for Tillandsias should be bright but filtered (April - October). They should not be left in the direct sun in the summer months (this will cause the plant to become sunburned ). Tillandsias love direct sun (November - March). Tillandsias may be grown in the house directly in front of a window. Fresh moving air is advisable, but remember, the most important care need is bright filtered light.
BEWARE: Trees, overhangs and window tinting can rob your plants of needed light. Place plants no further away than 3 feet in front of a bright window.


ARTIFICIAL LIGHT
Full spectrum artificial light (fluorescent) is best. Plant should be no further than 36" from the fluorescent tubes and can be as close as 6". A four-tube 48" fixture works well. Bulbs can be any full spectrum type Gro-Lux, Repta-Sun, Vita-Lite, etc. Light should be set with a timer, 12 hours per day.


WATER
Thoroughly wet your Tillandsia 2-3 times per week; more often in a hot, dry environment; less often in a cool, humid one. Plants should be given enough light and air circulation to dry in no longer than 4 hours after watering. Spray misting is insufficient as the sole means of watering but may be beneficial between regular waterings in dry climates to increase the humidity.
If the plant is in a shell, be sure to empty the water out. Tillandsias will not survive in standing water.Under-watering is evidenced by an exaggerating of the natural concave curve of each leaf.


AIR CIRCULATION
Following each watering, Tillandsias should be given enough light and air circulation to dry in 4 hours or less. Do not keep plants constantly wet or moist.


TEMPERATURE
Optimum temperature range for tillandsias is 50 - 90 degrees F.


FERTILIZER
Use Bromeliad fertilizer (17-8-22) twice a month. It is GREAT for blooming and reproduction! Other water-soluble fertilizers can be used at 1/4 strength (Rapid Grow, Miracle-Grow, etc.) if Bromeliad fertilizer is not available.


TILLANDSIAS IN VIVARIUMS AND OTHER ANIMAL ENCLOSURES
Enclosures must have at least one side of screen mesh. Full spectrum fluorescent lighting is Ideal full spectrum incandescent lighting will be sufficient when care is taken to avoid placing heat producing bulbs too close to plants The higher the wattage, the more distance should be used to avoid burning or heat-damage to plants. Good air circulation and proper watering schedule must be maintained.


MOUNTING TILLANDSIAS
Mount plants on almost anything, - Driftwood, manzanita, seashells, coral, lava rock, crystals using a non - water soluble glue such as E-6000 Adhesive. Set plants on the prospective mount. If you like the arrangement, proceed. Place adhesive on mount, and then place plants onto that area. Larger plants may be supported with fishing line until glue dries. Cover exposed adhesive area with sawdust or sand to camouflage.


PLACEMENT IN STORE
Tillandsias are perfect impulse-buys. Display near the cash register. They appeal to bird and reptile owners, and specialty plant collectors, such as orchid and cactus growers.


UN-MOUNTED (BAREROOT) PLANTS
Most of your sales can be bareroot plants! A full stock of unmounted plants enables customers to create their own arrangements. Remove any plant from your display that shows signs of neglect.



Sources:


Tillandsia International


Wikipedia

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I am a grade nine student living in Mexico. This is my home school education blog. I post the things I learned during the week on this blog. I hope you can learn things from this too.


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